OSTLOGOL.GIF (2116 bytes)

OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP

ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS

June 5, 2000



THIRD REFORMED CHURCH - SITE PLAN REVIEW - 2345 NORTH THIRD STREET - (PARCEL NOS. 3905-11-430-018, 
11-280-020, 11-280-040)

NIEUWENHUIS - OUTDOOR STORAGE - VARIANCE - 3265 SOUTH 6TH STREET - (PARCEL NO. 3905-34-130-014).

JEFFERSON COMMONS - SITE PLAN REVIEW AND VARIANCE - 100 ACRES ON KL AVENUE - 
(PARCEL NOS. 3905-24-155-012, 24-155-040, 24-330-010, 24-330-020).
                                                                                                                                           
A meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Zoning Board of Appeals on Monday, 
June 5, 2000, commencing at approximately 3:00 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township.

MEMBERS PRESENT:	
Thomas Brodasky, Chairperson
David Bushouse
Sharon Kuntzman
Ted Corakis
						
MEMBER ABSENT:	
Millard Loy

Also present were Jodi Stefforia, Planning Director, Mary Lynn Bugge, Township Planner, and 
Patricia R. Mason, Township Attorney, and 22 other interested persons.

CALL TO ORDER

The meeting was called to order at 3:02 p.m.

MINUTES

The Board considered the minutes of the meeting of May 15, 2000.  Typographical errors on pages 
4 and 5 were corrected.  Ms. Kuntzman moved to approve the minutes as amended, and Mr. Bushouse 
seconded the motion.  The motion carried unanimously.

THIRD REFORMED CHURCH - SITE PLAN REVIEW - 2345 NORTH THIRD STREET - (PARCEL NOS. 3905-11-430-018, 
11-280-020, 11-280-040)

The Board considered an item tabled from the meeting of May 15, 2000, concerning the application 
of Third Reformed Church for site plan review of a proposed addition to the existing church 
building to provide a new 1,200 seat sanctuary at 2345 North Third Street.  The subject property 
is located in the "R-2" Residential District zoning classification and is comprised of Parcel 
Nos. 3905-11-430-018, 11-280-020 and 11-280-040.  The Report of the Planning and Zoning Department 
is incorporated herein by reference.

Ms. Stefforia stated that she had received comments from KATS and the Road Commission regarding 
the third access point.  Although both KATS and the Road Commission did not "like how the site 
is laid out", it was recognized that the site is currently existing.  Given the existing site 
layout, KATS would support the addition of a third drive if the northern drive were shifted 20 
feet to the north so as to line up with the residential drive on the opposite side of the street.  
Although a third drive was contrary to the Road Commission's guidelines, it indicated a 
willingness to accept a third drive if KATS is recommending it.  

Ms. Stefforia suggested that the screening for the western tier of parking would need to be 
addressed.  However, she stated that the use is a permitted use and that the neighboring zoning 
is also residential. Therefore, the screening would not strictly be required. 

It was noted that a letter had been received from Richard Cooper in support of the proposed 
application.  Two letters in opposition to the application were attached to the Planning and 
Zoning Department Report.

Rick Willinger was again present on behalf of the applicant along with Darwin Evers, the 
Executive Director of the Church.  

The Chairperson stated that he had visited the site and was concerned about the southwest 
portion of the proposed parking addition.  He wondered whether it would be possible to place a 
small addition to the north rather than the southwest.  The applicant responded that the property 
to the north is quite hilly and would require clearing.

There was a discussion of the maintenance building, and the applicant indicated that the plan was 
not to move it at this time.  

The Chairperson also had questions with regard to lighting.  The applicant responded that the 
lighting is automatically turned off in the evening by timers.  The timers are set for 10 p.m.

As to parking, the number of spaces exceed that required in the Ordinance.  The Chairperson asked 
whether the applicant could delay adding the parking as proposed, and the applicant indicated that 
adding parking at a later date would be more expensive.

Mr. Bushouse commented that the Church had previously purchased this property along with more 
acreage.  Some of the acreage had been sold to the "Plat". Therefore, he felt that anyone who had 
purchased within the Plat knew the Church was located in this area and had plans for future 
expansion.  

Ms. Stefforia wondered why the parking addition was being placed 12 feet from the property line 
of residential sites given the vacant acreage to the north.  The applicant responded that the 
area to the southwest is less expensive to pave.  The Chairperson wondered about an area west of 
the north parking area, and it was noted that there was a topography problem, a drop-off, in this 
area.  It was noted that the parking at the site currently exceeds that which would be required 
under the Ordinance, and therefore, if the 48 spaces proposed in the southwest area were 
eliminated, the Church would still have in excess of the Ordinance-prescribed parking.

The Chairperson asked for public comment, and Dr. William Fenn noted that he had objected by 
letter to the proposed project.  He stated that he had been assured with the previously parking 
lot expansion that no additional parking was anticipated.  As to lighting, he noted that the 
lights do not always go off at 10 p.m.  Additionally, he felt that the structural lighting was 
glaring into his bedroom.  He was concerned that with 30 acres of area, the parking addition was 
being placed 12 feet from residential properties.

Deb DeMink spoke, stating that she had never had any problems with the Church.  She felt the 
Church and its personnel were cooperative.  In her opinion, the lights were not glaring, and she 
believed that they were off by 10 p.m.  She was in favor of the expansion.

Sue Storey spoke, stating that her residence is directly in back of the Church.  She stated that 
she had installed a high fence to help screen the blacktop.  She questioned whether establishing 
trees along the property line would be a "good idea" because it would shade her property.  
However, she would not be in favor of removal of existing trees along the property line. In her 
opinion, the light timers were irregular, sometimes shutting down the lights at 10 p.m. and 
sometimes at 3 a.m.

Angela Elheimer stated that she had a view of the parking lot and the maintenance shed from her 
property.  She was concerned about the problem with foot traffic coming across private property 
from the Church property.  She also felt that the traffic generated by the site was a problem.  
In her opinion, the Church was becoming more like a "business".

Mr. Evers stated that plans for the Church change over the years.  However, the Church respects 
its neighbors and wanted to be neighborly.  He noted that the timers for the lights are sometimes 
disturbed when there is a power failure.  He welcomed phone calls to let him know that there a 
problem with the timers.  However, he felt that the Church needed ample lighting to discourage 
vandalism.  He stated that some of the parking addition was needed so that there was "ample 
parking".  The Church did not want to turn anyone away.  However, he felt that the Church could 
eliminate the last tier of parking spaces on the southwest side.  After some discussion, it was 
noted that there were 24 spaces in this last line.

There was no other public comment, and the public hearing was closed.  

With regard to lighting, Ms. Stefforia stated that the photometric plan shows the lighting in 
compliance with Ordinance standards.  However, an inspection could be made at night to confirm 
that there is no lighting problem.

Board members felt that the elimination of the last lane of parking would be beneficial in that 
it would allow a greater buffer between the parking area and neighboring property lines.

The Board began its discussion of the number of curb-cuts for driveways suggested by the applicant.  
Board members felt that it would be more helpful to have KATS present in person to answer 
questions with regard to their reasoning as to the third driveway.

Mr. Corakis stated that he did not see how the third driveway would help the traffic situation at 
the property.  In his opinion, two drives would be better.  Mr. Bushouse stated that he was in 
favor of the third driveway, believing that it would allow traffic to be able to move into and 
off of the site more effectively from 10th Street.  Ms. Kuntzman stated that she agreed with 
Mr. Bushouse's comment that the traffic would move more effectively with three curb-cuts.

Ms. Kuntzman moved to approve the site plan with the following conditions, limitations and 
notations:

(1)	As to access, the addition of a third drive at the site was approved as a deviation from 
the Access Management Guidelines pursuant to the recommendation of KATS, conditioned upon 
relocation of the north drive to the north by 20 feet.  Approval of the driveways was contingent 
upon Kalamazoo County Road Commission approval.

(2)	The parking addition as proposed by the applicant was approved with the elimination of 
	the last line of 24 spaces.

(3)	Lighting must comply with the provisions of Section 78.700 of the Zoning Ordinance.

(4)	Site plan approval is subject to the review and approval of the Fire Department.

(5)	Site plan approval is subject to the review and approval of the Township Engineer.

(6)	Stormwater management must satisfy the provisions of Section 78.500 of the Zoning 
	Ordinance.

(7)	An earth change permit from the Kalamazoo County Drain Commissioner is necessary before 
	earth change activities may commence.

(8)	It was recognized that a Hazardous Substance Reporting form and Environmental Permit 
	Checklist had been submitted by the applicant.

(9)	Approval was conditioned upon the maintenance building remaining located as is pursuant 
to the applicant's representation.

Mr. Bushouse seconded the motion.  There was no action on the motion in that Mr. Bushouse and 
Ms. Kuntzman voted in favor thereof, and the Chairperson and Mr. Corakis voted against.  

Mr. Corakis moved to approve the site plan with all of the conditions stated by Ms. Kuntzman in 
her motion with the exception of that condition as to access.  With regard to access, Mr. Corakis 
moved that only two drives be approved for the subject site and that the north drive be relocated 
as suggested by the Road Commission.  In his opinion, deviation from the Access Management 
Guidelines was not appropriate in this situation.  He felt that there would be problems with 
conflicting traffic movements.  There was no second to Mr. Corakis' motion, and it died for lack 
of support.

There was further discussion about rescheduling the meeting to allow for participation by the 
fifth member and for questions to, and answers by, KATS.  After further discussion, Ms. Kuntzman 
moved to table the item to a special meeting on Wednesday, June 7, 2000, at 4:30 p.m.  
Mr. Bushouse seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.

NIEUWENHUIS - OUTDOOR STORAGE - VARIANCE - 3265 SOUTH 6TH STREET - (PARCEL NO. 3905-34-130-014).

The Board next discussed the application of John Nieuwenhuis of Little John's Excavating for 
a variance from Section 41.301 of the Zoning Ordinance to allow outdoor storage and parking of 
equipment in an area greater than 100 percent of the building.  The subject property is the site 
of Little John's Excavating at 3265 South 6th Street (Parcel No. 3905-34-130-014) and is within 
the "I-1" Industrial District zoning classification.  A small portion of the property is located 
in the "AG" District zoning classification. The Report of the Planning and Zoning Department is 
incorporated herein by reference.

Ms. Bugge stated that the property consists of 9.8 acres utilized by the Little John's Excavating 
Company for the past 15 years.  A contractor services business is a permitted use within the 
"I-1" District pursuant to Section 41.203.  The subject property abuts "I-1" zoning on the east 
and south and "AG" zoning on the north and west.  Because of the type and size of the equipment 
used in the excavating business, the applicant found the permitted outdoor storage insufficient.  
The applicant was seeking relief from the limitation imposed by Section 41.301 and was requesting 
an additional 6,160 square feet of outdoor storage for a total of 11,800 square feet.  Outdoor 
storage would utilize approximately 2.8 percent of the property.  The enlarged outdoor storage 
area would be to the east and south of the existing building.  It would consist of a 50-foot-wide 
strip extending 160 feet along the south side and continuing 76 feet to the north along the east 
berm.  There would be no other changes to the existing site.  The applicant was not proposing to 
store any damaged or inoperable vehicles. 

Ms. Bugge felt that the application was similar to that approved for Naylor Landscaping.  However, 
this property is larger.  She noted that with regard to the Naylor site, 4.9 percent of the 
property is used for outdoor storage.

The applicant was present, stating that his use is somewhat seasonal including snow removal.  
There was not enough space to store the large equipment associated with his business.  In 
response to questions from Mr. Corakis, he stated that most of his equipment is not required to 
be licensed.  It is hauled from the site to job sites with a trailer.  

Mr. Bushouse questioned whether the applicant could estimate the amount of storage needed, and 
the applicant indicated that it would vary from week to week.

The Chairperson asked for public comment, and Char Schramm stated that she owns the property just 
east of the subject site. She felt that Little John's was a good neighbor and was in support of 
the application.  

Bob Swicker, a 6th Street resident, stated that he had no problem with the application.

George Daniel, a 6th Street resident, stated that he lives across the street and was new to the 
area.  However, he felt that Mr. Nieuwenhuis was very cooperative, and he had no objection to the 
proposal.

There was no other public comment, and the public hearing was closed.

Board members felt that this application was distinguished from others due to the nature of the 
business and its storage needs.  They agreed that it would be difficult and burdensome to expect 
the applicant to build enough indoor storage to accommodate his equipment.

Ms. Kuntzman moved to approve a variance from Section 41.301 to allow 11,800 square feet of 
outdoor storage at the subject site with the following reasoning:

(1)	Compliance was unnecessarily burdensome given the nature of the business and the large 
	equipment associated therewith.

(2)	It would be unnecessarily burdensome to require the applicant to construct indoor storage 
	for the large equipment associated with his business.

(3)	Substantial justice would weigh in favor of granting the variance in that a similar 
	application, with regard to Naylor, had been approved.  Further, the applicant was 
	proposing to use only 2.8 percent of the site for outdoor storage.

(4)	It was felt that, given the type of use and the size of the property, a variance was in 
	keeping with the intent and spirit of the Ordinance.

Mr. Corakis seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.

JEFFERSON COMMONS - SITE PLAN REVIEW AND VARIANCE - 100 ACRES ON KL AVENUE - 
(PARCEL NOS. 3905-24-155-012, 24-155-040, 24-330-010, 24-330-020).

The Board next considered the application of JPI Apartment Development, LP for site plan review 
and variance from Section 24.200(d) for a proposed 336-unit multiple-family development served 
by one access point on a public street.  The subject site was approximately 100 acres, north off 
KL Avenue, and was within the "R-4" Residence District zoning classification.  The property is 
comprised of Parcel Nos. 3905-24-155-012, 24-155-040, 24-330-010, 24-330-020.  The Report of the 
Planning and Zoning Department is incorporated herein by reference.

Ms. Stefforia noted that the proposal satisfied the Ordinance standards with the exception that 
the Access Management Guidelines would call for one access point for the subject property, and 
the multiple-family provisions would require two.  The applicant was proposing only one access 
point. 

With regard to landscaping along the north side, Ms. Stefforia suggested hearing from the 
neighbors on this point.  She doubted that much landscaping would be necessary.  The proposed 
project was  mostly on the east half of the property.  In response to questions from Mr. Bushouse, 
Ms. Stefforia stated that the project would be one phase.  

The Chairperson stated that, in his opinion, there was no good place for a second drive to serve 
the subject property.  

Sally Rowling on behalf of the applicant was present.  There was some questions with regard to 
the current excavating activities at the site, and Ms. Rowling stated that those were being 
performed by the current owner, the Balkemas.  The excavating would not continue after the project 
was constructed. 

In response to questions from Mr. Bushouse, Ms. Rowling stated that it was anticipated that the 
land to the north and east would remain undeveloped.  She felt that there would have to be a 
drastic increase in the market need for housing to make expansion into these areas cost effective.  
Some accommodation for connection of this site to the portion of the property owned by the 
applicant to the west had been made.  The applicant indicated that they were developing the 
easterly portion of the property because it is flat.  Other portions are "hilly". 

The Chairperson called for public comment, and Brian Pennings, a KL Avenue resident, stated that, 
in his opinion, the location of the drive was advantageous.  However, he expressed concern that 
a house on the site, previously rented to students, had caused problems for his property with 
trespass, etc.  

There was no other public comment, and the public hearing was closed.

There was some concern that the property to the west or north would be split off.  It was noted 
that this property would need access and frontage in order to be an approvable split.  The 
applicant could not divide the property so as to landlock a portion.

Mr. Bushouse commented that he would like to see at least one parking space per tenant.  The 
applicant responded that their rental agreements only allowed one tenant per bedroom, and 
therefore, sufficient parking would be provided. 

Mr. Bushouse moved to approve a variance to allow only one access point for the subject site 
with the following reasoning:

(1)	Substantial justice weighed in favor of granting the variance in that other similar 
	applications had been granted.

(2)	Compliance was unnecessarily burdensome, and the spirit and intent of the Ordinance was 
	met in that the Access Management Guidelines of the Ordinance called for one access point.

Ms. Kuntzman seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.

With regard to the site plan, Ms. Kuntzman moved to approve with the following conditions, 
limitations and notations:

(1)	Access to the site be as proposed by the applicant conditioned upon  Kalamazoo County 
	Road Commission review and approval.

(2)	All site lighting must comply with the requirements of Section 78.700 and be reviewed and 
	approved by Township Staff.

(3)	Dumpster enclosure details be provided to Township for review and approval.

(4)	The review is subject to the review and approval and conditions imposed by the Township 
	Fire Department.

(5)	The site plan review is subject to the review and approval of the Township Engineer.

(6)	An earth change permit from the Kalamazoo County Drain Commissioner be required before 
	any earth work begins at the property.

(7)	Parking was approved pursuant to the representation of the applicant with regard to the 
	terms of their rental agreements limiting the number of tenants to one per bedroom.

Mr. Corakis seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.

OTHER BUSINESS

Mr. Bushouse had questions with regard to a site plan previously approved for the Siegel property.  
Ms. Stefforia indicated no parking had been approved by the Board on the 33-foot right-of-way.  
The applicant subsequently submitted a revised plan which did show such parking and the closure 
of the Parkview Avenue drive.  Because cross access would not be allowed by the neighboring 
property owner, the drive would not be closed, and under the current plan, no parking would be 
located on the 33-foot right-of-way.

ADJOURNMENT

There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 4:55 p.m.

					

Minutes Prepared:
June 8, 2000

Minutes Approved:
July 10, 2000